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Rookie blueliner Schwartz blossoming in first season on Jets' back end

By Matt Mackinder, 02/06/19, 9:30PM EST


FRASER, Mich. – Coming from a hockey-rich family, Cory Schwartz is forging his own identity with the Metro Jets.

His older brother, Jeremy, is the Jets’ captain this season and another older brother, Cam, skated for the Jets from 2015-17.

Needless to say, the younger Schwartz was well-versed in the Jets when he decided to join the team prior to the current 2018-19 season.

“I have been following the Jets organization through my older brothers,” said Schwartz. “I watched Cam’s team make the finals multiple times and have an undefeated season, as well as Jeremy’s championship win last season. That alone gave me confidence that I was going to play for a prestigious team who has been consistent and determined to showcase their talents.”

A 19-year-old Warren native, Schwartz is just as successful in the classroom as he is on the ice.

“I have been playing hockey and going to school part-time to complete my general education for college, but needed another year of school to finish,” Schwartz explained. “After aging out of the previous league I was in, the Jets were recommended to me by my family to see my opportunities for college hockey increase while giving me that extra year of schooling I needed.

“The Jets organization provides a look into what junior hockey will be like, as well as a look into what colleges interest you based off of your hockey development, education, and where you want to go. With the Jets program being centered more around player development rather than winning, it makes the player put in the amount he wants to achieve for his future.”

As a junior hockey rookie, Schwartz experienced a period of adjustment early in the season but has since become more comfortable on and off the ice.

“With this being my first year of junior hockey, I first noticed the 20-minute periods taking a toll on me,” said Schwartz. “With the Jets’ off-ice facility, the MAT, I feel I’ve become more endurable to these longer games as well as practicing at least four times a week and playing games on the weekend. As for on-ice development, the focus at Metro is to make better habits and losing the ones that end up in mistakes or turnovers.”

On the back end this season, Schwartz has been paired with fellow rookie Matt Cruz in what has become a very reliable and steady blue line duo.

“Matt and I played together last year and we both came into Metro hoping we could be a ‘D’ pairing,” Schwartz said. “I think it’s calming to know that you’re going out on the ice with someone with an understanding of what their playing style is. So far, it’s been a blast playing with him as he’s been my favorite ‘D’ partner out of everyone I’ve played with.”

Jets associate head coach Jamie Lovell has seen Schwartz come in as a player with raw talent to a player that has been able to focus on the small details to become an intelligent defenseman.

“Going into the season, we weren’t sure what to expect from Cory,” Lovell said. “His skating needed to improve, but he has made the necessary adjustments. He has put in the time both on and off the ice in the gym, and you can see the difference. The transition to junior hockey has been pretty smooth for Cory as a result. He plays a key role for us in all situations anchoring the blue line. He has good offensive instincts, knowing when to jump into the play along with just getting pucks to the net from the blue line, but his defending is where he’s been most valued, as we can play him against other teams’ top players.  

“He’s going to be a key player for us come playoff time and we’re excited to see what he can do.”

Schwartz said that with the regular season winding up in the next few weeks, he’s focused on bringing another title back to Fraser Hockeyland.

“With the rest of the season, I’m hoping to continue to better myself off-ice in the MAT, as well as on-ice with my habits, to help the boys win another championship,” said Schwartz. “Just want to finish the end of the season strong.” 

Photo/Amanda Hofmann/PS Express